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  CSPAN    Capitol Hill Hearings    News/Business.  

    December 6, 2012
    6:00 - 7:00am EST  

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publicly, there are probably dozens of others that don't feel free to speak their mind but certainly agree with him privately. the house republican leadership are like generals conquered away in a bunker that don't realize that their army in the field has already laid down its arms. the republican leaders are in search of an exit strategy. they have won in the form of a discharge petition filed in the house for the speaker. the speaker nor the republican leadership have to endorse it out right the senate bill. all the speaker has to do is tell his members, if you are for this bill to go on the floor, you won't have any recommendations if you sign the discharge petition.
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-- recriminations if you sign the discharge petition. there be 218 signatures. if the speaker allowed a vote on the bill, it would pass. certainly with a good deal more than 218 votes. we might not win over the paul ryans. they can vote no or present. let the other republicans vote their conscience and this bill will pass. it was reported that senior aides are considering just such a strategy to give them a soft landing in the tax debate. they live to fight another day on spending cuts. we agree that a tax hike on middle-class americans should be taken off the table in the middle of the christmas season.
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>> let's get serious and across of the biggest item on our to do list and get this senate tax cut bill passed and passed now. >> questions? >> you going to call on people? >> yes. >> >> we're here to encourage the hike that will average $2,200 a are getting ready for the newit is fair, it is one thing that trillion in spending reductions. gas to go back and forth to the
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house as well as olympia republicans said, why don't you the house it will pass with a bipartisan vote. what other spending cuts would you propose? what has gotten us into this mess is people propose large numbers and never fell in the details. we have filled in the details of our first step. let them kill and the details of their first step on it attacks or the spending side. they have not done either so it is not much of an offer. >> what they did say, they did not include having the top two rates on the wealthiest americans which means their proposal, their $800 million goes right back to the middle class. it would have to the mortgage tax deductions, college deductions, charitable deductions, mortgage relief legislation that i have had in
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place to you don't have to pay taxes on a short sale. there is a whole range of things that you have to go to better back on the middle class. we're not going to do that. we've got to make sure that the wealthiest in this country help pay down this large deficit. >> will the democrats just wait? >> we have a lot of discussions going on in the senate and the various places. we know what the parameters are and the speaker knows what the parameters are. the president is ready, willing, and able to sit down and seriously negotiate with us but they have to be willing to come to the table with specifics like he is doing. >> we have done something. if you look at either proposal, they want every tax rate to go up.
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we all agree that group of rates should not go up. we just disagree on the top 2%. let's go where we agree which would be the current rates and make sure the folks in the middle class don't have an increase. we all agree on that. but they want more and more. we are saying that you have to start somewhere. they don't want to use the procedure to allow their own people to vote on it. they are holding the american people, the middle-class hostage for small issues they want to fight on and play the press war. we agree on these rates to be lower. we just disagree on the top two. >> live to fight another day is your advice. when the other day comes will democrats refused to entertain any discussion of entitlements?
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>> there are many proposals that have been made by a variety of people on our side in that area. the bottom line is very simple -- we're not going to negotiate those details on till we get an agreement on the tax side. as the original meeting of the four leaders and the president, they agreed on a down payment, we put our down payment on the table, we were very specific. we said exactly what it is on tax cuts on the highest rates, on capital gains and dividends and on the state sector that was all put on the table. they have put nothing specific on the table. to ask us what is your second step when they have done their first makes no sense but we will not negotiate against ourselves. >> let me also say it is interesting to me on the one side is the president and the democrats that the threshold for us is not extending the tax
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rates for the top two%. the speaker has said the tax cuts are not entitlements. tell us what you mean specifically. he won't tell us. we already did over $700 billion in savings in medicare by stopping overpayments and doing a number of other things that focus on prevention. of course, we are willing to sit down and look at everything within the context of what's good for seniors and people. at this point, if they have line, show us what it is and be specific. we are being very specific. pass the senate bill. >> we have already done $1 trillion of cuts so we are not afraid of taking on the challenge is coming true.
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they have an opportunity today, right now, to make sure that middle-class america not only texas of our to do less but has a great christmas. and making sure they have a tax cut january 1. we have done $1 trillion and medicare and we have done our position on taxes and we're waiting for the specifics. it is pretty simple. >> will also passed a farm bill on the son of that which was bipartisan which almost -- with almost $24 billion in cuts which they can pass and have additional cuts. >> will there be any deal to raise the tops -- top tax rates? >> we ran an election on that issue. we campaigned on a and the american people are for it. there are large numbers of republicans for it. the logic here is very, very simple -- speaker behner should
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go to the top rate or if he does not want to, he can simply tell the members of his caucus if you want to sign the discharge petition, there is no recrimination on our side. and we will get the first major down payment on which we know has the support of the majority of the american people and the majority of both houses in the congress and then we can move forward and go to the next step. the bottom line is very simple -- we think the top rate going to 39.6% is the way to go and we are seeing lots of movement on the republican side in that direction. we think that is the way to go. >> [inaudible] would the republicans have the upper hand? >> i don't see how that is the case at all. it is very clear to the american people that we will come
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together on the middle-class tax cuts and get them extended. there are a range of other issues. as we look at the sequester and look at what is happening on the debt limit, there is a broader package on both sides. i cannot imagine why suddenly that puts them in a situation where they have all the leverage. they have said we will agree to this now we have to go on and agree to a larger package. i think >> they learned their lesson with the debt ceiling. i don't think it as leverage for them all. the whole thing turned around when it looked like they would be willing to let the united states forgo its payment of debt in 2011. the whole thing turned around and we began to get the upper hand. i think they have learned that mistaken any talk that as leverage for them i think is false. >> you supported decoupling to get a down payment immediately
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and negotiations next year? the president has proposed roughly $600 billion in revenues to than total $1.60 trillion. which of you support getting taxes raised by $1.60 trillion? >> speaking for myself as a member of the finance committee, i would say i think it is important that we address this issue now for middle-class families. do we have other areas we need to look at in the tax code? absolutely, there are things we can look at as we look global like how to be competitive. i would argue for a number of things that focus on innovation and manufacturing and domestic manufacturing in this country. yes, there are areas where we can come together and negotiate. senator baucus, senator hatch of already pulled together. we have had conversations about
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this and i believe we can come together and get that piece done it the first pieces off the table. there is more that we can do. i'm not sure of lock myself into an exact number but i believe there is more we can do. >> i think it is very hard to get a large deal of $4 trillion without $1.60 trillion in revenues. >> as we move forward, i sponsored a tax reform legislation to get the bigger question out there. generally, this is a big problem that has accumulated over 40 years. there is no simple answer and there has been a lot of discussion the what the american people are telling me is to start doing something. this stage we talked about today, this bill on the house side, is a start.
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as a move into the next year, all this have ideas on what the right approach is and have offered our own spending cuts ideas and revenue ideas but that will be the next process. let's get something off the table that clearly we all agree on. >> yes? final question? >> there has to be an additional price for this. >> i would hope we can come together on additional downpayments. that is speaking for myself. i know many members would like very much to see us do something that would be a short term alternative on sequestration. we have a farm bill that has savings in it. it is just waiting. >> do you have anything to do with agriculture? >> i know, but that is the truth. frankly, we can together on a bipartisan basis so these can get done. we know this can get done because we did it.
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there is a way to take the form bill's savings and other things and put it together and create a down payment. >> thank you. >> if we have a joint agreement on policy which is what we are actively involved with the house and working on now, i believe they will take our policy along with the cuts would propose. thanks, everybody [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> mitch mcconnell talked about the fiscal click on the floor of the senate. the two parties first sat down to discuss the so-called fiscal cliff, it was widely assumed among republicans that president obama and democrats actually wanted to avoid it. that was the premise that any possible agreement had shown. that was the common goal, or so we thought. over the past couple of weeks it's become increasingly clear to many of us that we were simply wrong about that. incredibly, many top democrats,
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including the president, seemed perfectly happy -- perfectly happy -- to go off the cliff. that's why the president has been more interested in campaign rallies than actually negotiating a deal. and it explains why the president is now stubbornly insisting on raising tax rates when he himself said just last year that you could raise more revenue from capping deductions and closing loopholes. this isn't about the deficit for them or balance. it's about an ideological campaign that most americans thought would have ended on november 6, and that's also why the president sent secretary geithner up here last week with a proposal so completely ridiculous it wouldn't have passed the house, as i indicated earlier, if nancy pelosi were still speaker. it was more of a provocation than a proposal, to be perfectly frank about it. it was a message that the president doesn't want to deal at all.
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to date not a single democrat has come forward to support the geithner proposal, and anybody who actually looks at the details would certainly understand why. as i just indicated, it includes a $2 trillion tax increase over ten years, the biggest real-dollar tax increase in u.s. history. it increases taxes on nearly one million small businesses in the middle of a jobs crisis. according to ernst & young, this type of rate hike would cause more than 700,000 americans to lose their jobs. it raises taxes on investment income, harming economic growth even more. it includes tens of billions of dollars in more washington spending in a deal supposedly to cut the deficit. and most outrageous of all, it gives the president of the united states unilateral power to raise the limit on the federal credit card, the so-called debt ceiling, whenever he wants or as much as he wants.
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and while i'm flattered the administration has taken to calling this the -- quote -- "mcconnell provision" they seemed to have forgotten how this worked in the budget control act. we gave the president the authority then to request a debt ceiling increase, but that was only after the white house agreed to $2 trillion in cuts to washington spending and agreed to be bound by the timing and amount set by congress. this time the request is for the president to have the ability to raise the debt ceiling whenever he wants for as much as he wants with no fiscal responsibility or spending cuts attached. this is an idea opposed by democrats and republicans alike. it's a power grab that has no support here. and so it's not only completely dishonest, it's juvenile to compare it to last year's debt ceiling agreement. it would also be incredibly irresponsible since history shows that the only major
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deficit-cutting deals we ever do around here -- ever -- comes after debates over the debt ceiling. it may be a good idea if you don't care about the debt, but it's a nonstarter for those of us who do. it also represents a dangerous attempt by the president to grab more power over spending, power that congress must not and will not cede. beyond these details not only will the president's plan raise taxes on certain individuals, it will also cap their ability to deduct donations they make to charities, the interest they make on mortgages, the contributions they make to retirement accounts and the value of employer-based health insurance. don't get me wrong, you heard me say if democrats insist on getting more money to washington, capping these deductions is a better way to raise revenue. but capping deduction and raising tax is a recipe for economic disaster. the president's proposal would also subject tens of thousands of small businesses and family
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farms to a massive tax hike to be paid by the family upon the death of the owners. it would impose a crushing tax increase on industries that employ millions of americans, including manufacturers in my state, businesses that operate abroad, the insurance industry, and would raise the price at the pump by targeting the oil and gas industry for special tax treatment. it's so ridiculous, as i've said repeatedly, it wouldn't have passed the house under speaker pelosi. that's why even the most liberal members of congress, the president's most ardent supporters, haven't come forward to support it. so for the white house to demand a response shows they're just playing games at this point. and if you don't believe me, ask yourself how many democrats would vote for this bill. not many. but i didn't think we should have to speculate. i still think we should give democrats a chance to demonstrate for themselves just
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how serious the president's plan was and how serious they are. that's why i just asked consent to offer an amendment to the russia trade bill that gave them that opportunity. as i noted, i would be happy to have this vote here or as an amendment to the next bill or as a stand-alone. it will not slow down what i hope is swift passage for pntr for russia. if the president's proposal is made in good faith, our friends should be eager to vote for it. so i'm surprised the majority leader just declined the chance for them to support it with their votes. so i guess we're left to conclude that it couldn't even pass by a fair majority of votes and that they would rather take the country off the cliff than actually work out a good-faith agreement that reflects tough choices on both sides. to be fair to the secretary and to the president, we didn't just
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put together a bill that included his $2 trillion tax increase. we also added the almost $400 billion in new tax stimulus measures he wanted as well. this bill contains a continuation of the payroll tax holiday, a 10% credit on new wages that will go to businesses large and small, tanned included a fix -- and it included a fix to one of the many flawed provisions of obamacare and expansion of a tax credit for businesses no one uses. this proposal reflected exactly what was in the president's budget and his various submissions to congress. i for one was eager to see this vote, to see if senate democrats were ready to support it. i think folks should know who actually wants to raise taxes on family farmers and manufacturers and who thinks we can solve our
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fiscal problems without doing anything serious to our long-term liabilities. our democratic friend are so focused on the politics of this debate, they seem to forget there's a cost. they're feeling so good about the election, they've forgotten they've got a duty to govern. a lot of people are going to suffer -- a lot -- if we go off this cliff. that's why we assumed democrats would have preferred to avoid it. we thought this was the perfect opportunity to do som >> house democratic leaders spoke with reporters in the capital. this is 15 minutes. >> we are back. >> i know that you appreciate that we all have a day job and this is part of it. but we want to make sure that our ranking members that he
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leaves so effectively to make sure that we get all the members. let's start with you. >> allowing the middle class tax cuts, the debt limit on the table. >> consider that the republicans agree the new income tax will be a victory for the american people. it is becoming more if he does do that. passing the tax cut means the
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end of holding them hostage. >> i share the leaders view, this ought not to be a bad time. -- about tactics or strategy. it should be aboutthe economy and working americans, 98% pass the bill. they have the assurance that they will not be subjected to an increase in taxes january 1. this will give them confidence and it will add immeasurably to the confidence of our economy and that is why we ought to do it. it is not a question of a tactical advantage.
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it is a question of whether working americans will have the assurance that they will still have the resources to anticipate growing the economy. >> every movement has to have an answer. why can we come together as the american people want us to? i think that we continue to focus on the middle class. we continue to defend and stand for the middle class moving towards what we have in the fall right now with the mohsen -- the motion to discharge. but as the legislation that has already passed the u.s. senate. we should move on that and then we have other things to deal with this year. to send a message to the american people, it is time to move forward and get down to doing the business of the people of this country. >> i don't think the issue of disputed. advantage.
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this is because we all agree. i continue to believe that the overwhelming majority of republicans don't want to see the working americans, 98%, get a tax increase. we have overwhelming agreement. the american public are saying to themselves, you guys all agree, why don't you do it. that's what they are frustrated about. even when we have disagreements, the other side has refused to put that agreement on the floor so we can enact it. >> i will ask the both of you, don't you think that this request is expected to be so large, does it have to be enrolled in this conversation because you get 1.2 or 2.2 or
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what ever is, you have it coming off of the supplemental that. being part of that conversation? >> you mean the middle income tax cuts being part of that conversation? i don't think the debt ceiling has a place in all of this. i think that we continue with the rule that says the president sends it over, that is overturned. we have a path away from that because it is holding hostage any investments in the future that we can make. -- any fairness we can injectin to the revenue challenge that we have. but not that this will be too complicated. take.
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bypassing the middle income tax cut, it is deliberation in terms of discussion on how we go forward. a package that recognizes we have to establish priority more than others and make cuts to make sure that the judgments that we make on cuts are further up close for the economy. i have confidence in the sense of responsibility our country that will be able to reach an agreement. and not to make it too complicated, a good first step to be to pass -- no income tax cut. >> first of all, we need to pass the supplemental. the people of the northeast were somewhat spare on this, but the people of new jersey and connecticut, they have had a
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very damaging blow. we need to act on that. the way we can meet the immediate need. it is part of the math. we will have to consider all the expenditures that we make, we'll have to make that part of the agreement. whatever dollars that we expand will have to be accounted for and will have to be paid for over a longer time. it severely and adversely affected damage, we need to make that expenditure now and we need to pay for that over the longer term. for my of standpoint, part of dealt with.
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>> i have taken home in good faith of what we know about the speaker's remarks as it relates to this catastrophe. i don't think anybody wants to see them in royal in politics. -- wants to see this -- see them embroiled in politics in washington. this is a disaster. in rockaway,they are still without power. we are going on six weeks now. in many parts of the city in the region, we're really pushing back the decades and it is hard been there. i think the speaker is sensitive to that, the remarks are very positive that we need to address the needs of the people. i would hope that this would not get embroiled in what already seems to be
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insurmountable problems. immediately. >> the moment when the people look to the public sector to say, do we really have this contact? -- this compact? are you there for us? when the storms hit last time, in the new york area, the members came to us and said the devastation was so great, it changed the character of our community. the same thing can happen now people. i agree with you that the speaker has been gracious and open with what i have heard has to honoring the social compact
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that we are there in times of natural disaster to remove doubt in people's mind that this will not be a political debate but a values debate. let me just say to that -- this comes to mind -- when the bush administration came to us and said they needed funding. the chairman of the fed said that if i don't act immediately, we won't have an economy by monday. we acted. we had a debate and we acted. -- we did not have a debate, we actedthe taxpayers have been made: that and i believe that the investments that we make in this recovery will have a very positive effect on the come with it.
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the more important point is the connection between the people and the government is one that is honored. >> what is the democratic contingency if the government is raised by the end of the year? -- if the debt limit is not raised by the end of the year? contingency? >> the president has put forth in his budget, the leadership of of this should go. if we take the middle-income tax cuts off of the table, then we end the hostage taking the republicans have engaged in. we are not going to do that wealthy. i think those are areas of agreement as we go forward.
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i will not put forth what that is today because we go to the table to negotiate. >> the debt limit ought not to be held hostage to anything. it hurt our economy, the credit worthiness ought to be not at risk or four negotiating. -- it ought not to be a negotiated item. those that are focused on the economy in try to grow jobs and build our economy, many will tell you this ought not to be a subject of political debate. i think from that standpoint, first of all, the president wants it part of the agreement so that we do not harm the economy or the creation of jobs and hard working americans by
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making that part of the debate. >> i want to take a moment to have knowledge of the passing of our former colleague, chairman jack brooks of texas. we were looking forward to his ninetieth birthday in the month of december. god took him to spend his birthday with him butright before the election in texas where he was completely knowledgeable of everything that was going on, he had the courage to pass the crime bill that had the assault weapons ban. it took courage and he paid a price for doing the right thing.
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another member of our leadership came after mr. brooks left us, but we all share a great pride to call him colleague. whenever he service. prayer is an said that they go out to beautiful charlotte and his many fans throughout the country and in this congress. thank you all very much. >> house speaker john bender and other members of the gop leadership spoke for 10 minutes.
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>> good morning everyone. you know, this week, we made a good faith offer to avert the fiscal crisis and that offer included significant spending cuts and reforms and included additional revenue. and frankly, it was the balanced approach that the president's been asking for. white house. with ourselves. our targets and framework are things that we can all agree on. and it's exactly how we approached our discussions in the biden group, my discussions at the white house a year and a half ago and for that matter, in the joint select committee. and if the president doesn't agree with our proposal and our outline, i think he's got an obligation to send one to the congress.
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and a plan that can pass both chambers of congress. if you look at the plans that the white house has talked about thus far, they couldn't pass either house of the congress. we are ready and eager to talk to the president and to work with him to make sure that the american people aren't disadvantaged by what's happening here in washington. >> good morning. you know, i think at this point, pretty much most folks in the country and certainly in this on taxes. i think we understand that. but to the speaker's point, we have not had any discussion and any specifics with this president about the real problem, which is spending. we have got to do something about the spending. and obsessions to raise taxes is not going to solve the problem. what will solve the problem is, doing something about the entitlements, taking on the wasteful spending in washington. we can't just keep borrowing
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money and raising taxes and away. president. and as the speaker said, we want to sit down with the president and want to talk specifics. now. he has out of hand reject that had. -- rejected that. nothing is going on. suffering. we ask the president, sit down with us and be serious about the specifics in the spending so we in washington and finally address the problem. >> as we continue to try to solve the fiscal cliff, the thing we have continued to look at is our economy. today in the whip's office we will have small family-owned businesses in there and talk about ways to protect the family business, continue to grow while at the same time make sure we solve this fiscal cliff. look, each and every day as we walk the halls, you continue to ask the questions.
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the fiscal cliff. we put the offer on the table and the president now has to engage. the next 72 hours are critical. if he sits back and continues to play politics, that will give going. this is the opportunity for the country to lead and opportunity for the president to lead. >> as these fiscal cliff negotiations and debate continues, i think it's important to remember that washington doesn't have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. and under this administration, under president obama, we have seen record deficits and a record debt accumulate, and yet he keeps demanding that we raise taxes to pay for more spending. this will only hurt our economy. ernst and young has done an analysis of the president's proposal and said it will cost several hundreds thousands of jobs. there is a better way and the
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speaker has laid it out. it is an approach that calls for tax reform by reforming the tax code and passing responsible spending cuts in order to get our fiscal house in order. that's what america wants. the big things. this is our moment to provide that leadership that america desperately wants and we stand here ready to take the action necessary. >> the american people are hurting right now and now is the moment where we need to step up to the plate and solve the problem. i don't know how any of us can look our kids and grandkids in the eye and explain to them that we aren't willing to pay for the things we are enjoying today but just going to send them the bill. that's why republicans have the proposal on the table that fixes the problem, puts us on the course to solve the problem, which is the out-of- control spending side of the ledger.
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receive news. -- with revenues. in fact, i think our receive news address the issue better in old tax code that is out of date. we hope the president will be coming to the table and be serious about negotiating. >> president obama has an unbelievable opportunity to be a transformational president, that is, to bring the country together uniquely and solve this debt problem in ways that other presidents haven't really had that opportunity, or he can dissolve into zero-sum-game politics, where he wins and other people lose. i have seen an attribute in president obama when i served with him in the state senate where he was able to rise above and transform some very controversial issues in a way that was powerful. and it's my hope that president
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obama rises to this opportunity, avoids this zero- sum-game splash and instead leads the nation in ways that only one person can do, that is the president of the united states. to get to yes. house republicans are not prepared to get to foolish. and it is foolish to reject president obama's own self- described architecture of $3 in spending cuts for every dollar in new revenue. we are prepared to work and call on the white house to do the same thing. >> speaker boehner, president obama, the white house projection last offer -- \[inaudible] 53% of americans will blame republicans in congress if you
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go over the fiscal cliff. how long can you have that hard above. -- how long can you afford politically to have those tax cuts? >> america faces a very serious problem and our goal is to make sure it gets solved. we have a debt problem that is out of control. we have got to cut spending and i believe it is appropriate to put revenues on the table. the receive news we are putting -- of the revenues we are putting from, guess who? the rich. there are ways to limit deductions, close loopholes and have the same people pay more -- more of their money to the federal government without raising the tax rates which we believe will harm our economy. >>\[inaudible question] >> i think our members
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understand the seriousness of faces. trillion dollar deficits for as far as the eye can see. $16 trillion of debt on the books. every man, woman and child owing the american government $50,000 and that number is increasing every single year. as a result, our members understand that we've got to solve the problem, and we will. >> the house is going to leave today with two days left in the week -- \[inaudible] >> the house leaving with the fiscal cliff -- >> i will be moment to sit down with the president p to get serious about solving this problem. negotiating? >> our members believe strongly
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the economy. closing loopholes, especially on those who are wealthy is a better way to raise this revenue than raising rates because raising rates will hurt the very people we are expecting to help create jobs in our country. thank you everybody. in speaking to business executives today, the president be willing to agree to highermr. obama is introduced by the c.e.o. of boeing. >> we at the business roundtable are grateful to both the electricity -- for the engagement we have had with you
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and members of your team. listen, i know your team has really reached out significantly over the last few months to many people in this room. the export council that the outreach to us is again you inand we know you are seeking solutions that was outlined very sincerely this morning when we met with jack and the rest of the team. and i hope you get the same sense of purpose and commitment from us as we engage with you. there aren't a lot of wall flowers in here and eager for a two-way exchange nonetheless and hopefully your takeaway will be we can serve a useful purpose in the dialogue. mr. president, thank you again for joining us today. we would love to hear from you. \[applause]
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>> good morning everybody. it is great to see all of you. many of you had a chance to see individually or in small groups over the last several months but good to be back at the business roundtable and jim, thanks for your leadership. originally, my team had prepared some remarks. they always get nervous when i'm out there on my own and never know what i might say, but given the dialogue that we had the last time, i thought it was useful for me to abbreviate my remarks, speak off-the-cuff and then spend the rest of the time having a conversation. let me begin by saying all of you in this room are not just business leaders, not just c.e.o.'s of your companies but economic leaders and thought leaders in this country. and i recognize that all of you have an enormous investment not
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only in your own companies but in the well-being of america. there are a lot of patriots in this room and people who care deeply about not only your bottom lines but also the future of this country. you have shown that over the last four years. we have gone through a difficult and economic period as we have seen in most of our life times and we have emerged not yet where we need to be, but we have certainly made progress. and the reason we have made progress in part is because of the outstanding management and productivity, gain s inefficiency and competitiveness that you have been able to your companies. i have said it to the small groups and let me repeat it to the large group. i'm passionately rooting for your success, because if the companies in this room are doing well, then small businesses and medium-sized businesses up and down the chain are doing well.
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if the companies in this room are doing well, then folks get jobs, consumers get confidence and we're going to be able to compete around the world. now, the good news is that despite the extraordinary challenges that we have seen over the last four years, there is progress in some key sectors of our economy. we have seen housing finally begin to bounce back for the first time and that obviously has an enormous ripple effect throughout the economy. consumer confidence is as high as it's been. many of you over the last two throw h, three years have experienced record profits or near-record profits and have a lot of money where you are prepared to invest in plant, investments and hire folks. obviously, globally, the economy in europe is still soft. asia is not charging forward and some of the emerging markets
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are not charging forward as quickly as they were a few years ago, but what all of you recognize and what you have told me is that everybody's looking to america. because they understand that if we're able to put forward a long-term agenda for growth and prosperity that's broad-based here in the united states, that confidence will not just increase here in the united states, it will increase globally and we can get the kind of cycle that all of us have been waiting for and want to see. what's holding us back right now is a lot of stuff that is going on in this town. and i know that many of you have come down here to try to see if there is a way to break through the log jam and go ahead and get things done and i'm here to tell you that nobody wants to get this done more than me.
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what we have said instead is, let's allow higher rates to go up for the top 2% and that includes all of you, yes, but not that is going to affect your spending, your lifestyles or the economy in any significant way. let's make sure that 98% of americans don't see a single dime in tax increases next year or small businesses see a single dime in increases next year. and by doing that alone, we raise almost $1 trillion without economy. let's combine that, then, with some additional spending cuts and some long-term entitlement reform that can get us to a number close to $4 trillion, which stabilizes our debt and our deficits relative to g.d.p.
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more. that's our plan. that's what we present. the holdup right now is that speaker boehner took a position, i think the day after the campaign, that said we're willing to bring in revenue, but we aren't willing to increase rates and i just explained to you why we don't think that works. we're not trying to -- we're not insisting on rates just out of spite or out of any kind of partisan bickering, but rather because we need to raise a certain amount of revenue. now we have seen some movement over the last several days amongst some republicans. i think there is a recognition that maybe they can accept some rate increases as long as it's
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combined with serious entitlement reform and additional spending cuts and if we can get the leadership on the republican side to take that framework, to acknowledge that reality, then the numbers actually aren't that far apart. another way of putting this is, we can probably solve this in about a week. it's not that tough. but we need that are conceptal breakthrough that says we need to do a balanced plan, that's what's best for the american economy and that's what the american people voted for and it done. let me make one last point and i'll start taking questions. there had been reports, and these are not necessarily confirmed and maybe some of you have more insight on this than i do, perhaps as the republicans go ahead and let
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middle-class tax cuts extended, upper income tax goes up, otherwise we don't get a deal and next year we come back and the thinking is republicans will have more leverage because there will be another vote on the debt ceiling and we will try to extract a stronger hand on the debt ceiling. i have to tell you that is a bad strategy for america, it's a bad strategy for your businesses and this is not a game that i will play. most of you were involved in discussions and watched the catastrophe that happened in august of 2011. everybody here is concerned about uncertainty. there is no uncertainty like the prospect that the united states of america, the largest economy that holds the world
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reserve currency potentially defaults on its debts. but we give up the basic notion that the united states stands behind its obligations. again. and this isn't just my opinion but the opinion of most of the folks in this room. when i hear some on the other side suggesting that to resolve the possibility of a potential or a quarterly debt ceiling crisis, that there is a price to pay, the price is paid by the american people and your businesses and economic environment worldwide. through that. john engler -- he and i philosophically don't agree on much -- \[laughter]
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>> i'm just being honest about john, he is a great politician and comes from the other party, but john is exactly right when he says that the only thing that debt ceiling for is to destroy your credit rating. so i want to send a very clear message to people here. we are not going to play that game next year. if congress in any way suggests that they are going to tie negotiations to debt ceiling votes and take us to the brink of default once again as part of a budget negotiation, which by the way, we have never done in our history until we did it last year, i will not play that game. we have to break that habit before it starts. so, with that, let me just say, we have one path where we resolve it fairly quickly.
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cuts. we reform our entitlements. increases. you get business certainty and you do what you do best, innovate, hire workers, make profits, do well by your shareholders and grow america and we have open-running room next year to deal with infrastructure, tax reform and immigration reform that will further make america competitive, that's one option. the other option is to engage in a self-inflicted series of wounds that will potentially push us back into recession and set back this country after all the work we have done over the last four years digging ourselves out of the hole. like to make.
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here in washington makes the right choice. captions copyright national national captioning institute] >> sean donovan will talk about his agency's budget today at 10:00 eastern. on c-span 2 at 9:00 a.m. eastern, u.s. pacific commander told a news briefing at the pentagon. the senate commerce subcommittee will talk about the impact of hurricane sandy on ins -- transportation systems in the northeast including rail and port infrastructure on c-span 3 at 10:30 a.m. eastern. in about 45 minutes, we will continue to examine the so- called fiscal cliff with called fiscal cliff with armstrong